Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Torstenson Family Endowment 2014 Projects

Below is a complete listing of the 2014 projects funded by the Torstenson Family Endowment. Find more information here.


Elk Restoration

Virginia Elk Restoration—The multi-year project to restore wild elk to Virginia is complete after the third and final group of 45 wild elk arrived from Kentucky in 2014. They joined an existing herd of approximately 40 elk previously relocated in 2012 and 2013.

Wisconsin Elk Restoration—This project plans to relocate 150 Kentucky elk over three to five years. The first elk were released at a new site, the Black River Falls. The next two years will have releases of elk to this new herd and to the existing Clam Lake herd.


Hunting Heritage

RMEF Elk Education Trunks
Designed for teachers, elk trunks contain lesson plans, activities, books, antlers, furs, skulls and other materials to help educators teach youth about elk, other wildlife, habitat conservation and hunting.

California—San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Los Banos
California—Sinkyone Wilderness State Park
Alabama/Florida/Georgia/Mississippi—RMEF Senior Regional Director R. Waterhouse
Idaho—Meadows Valley School, New Meadows
Illinois—Eric Torstenson, Barrington (2)
Michigan—DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit
Montana—Glasgow School District, Glasgow
Nevada—Grammar #2 Elementary School, Elko
Ohio—Cherokee Elementary School, Liberty Township
Tennessee—Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Morristown
Washington—Spokane Tribal Wildlife Program, Wellpinit
Washington—Verbrugge Environmental Center, Newport
Wisconsin—RMEF La Crosse Chapter, La Crosse

Wildlife Leadership Awards
Awarded five $3,000 college scholarships to undergraduate biology students to foster continued career interest in wildlife biology and management.

Arkansas—Matt Gideon, Arkansas Tech University
Kentucky—Chelsea Brock, Eastern Kentucky University
Massachusetts—Joseph Grennon, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Oregon—Jessica Stewart, Oregon State University
West Virginia—Hannah Clipp, West Virginia University

Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow Workshops
Supported Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLfT), a professional development program designed to teach hunting awareness and conservation education to leaders of natural resources based academic programs and government agencies. During 2014, CLfT conducted 11 workshops that were attended by 91 college students and 54 agency professionals. 

Illinois Conservation Foundation Education Trailer
Funded the design and furnishing of the Illinois Conservation Foundation Education Trailer. The trailer will travel throughout Illinois, including inner city areas, and bring outdoor education to those that might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about conservation, hunting, shooting sports, fishing and camping.

Hunter Education Support
Arizona—Provided 2,475 hunter orange safety caps to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for its hunter education program.

Montana—Provided 2,322 hunter orange safety vests to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for its hunter education program.

New Mexico—Provided 1,846 hunter orange safety vests to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for its hunter education program.

Illinois—Provided 4,000 RMEF Youth Membership Knives to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for distribution at hunter education classes.

Wisconsin—Provided 4,000 RMEF Youth Membership Knives to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for distribution at hunter education classes.

Various—Provided 276 RMEF Youth Membership knives to individuals and groups around the country.

Hunting Heritage Projects
Colorado—Funded the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) purchase of four trap throwers and an eight-trap wireless controller for CPW’s Novice Hunter Program which provides hands-on, in-the-field hunting days for hunter education graduates.

Iowa—Funded the purchase of targets for the Raised at Full Draw Youth Bowhunting Camp in Winterset, Iowa.

Illinois—Assisted Chicago’s Hubbard High School in purchasing bows, arrows and targets for the school’s new Junior ROTC Archery in the Schools Program.

Mississippi—Funded start-up of an Archery in the Schools Program at the Union Church Christian Academy, a small K-12 school in Tylertown.

Missouri—Purchased archery equipment so Jamestown C-1 School could expand its National Archery in the Schools Program into their Physical Education classes.

Montana—Provided 60 RMEF survival bracelets to youth participants in the National 4-H Western Heritage Project Conference and Invitational Shoot that was held in Virginia City.

Montana—Provided 75 “Wild Life of Elk” books to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ WILD Outdoor Education Center in Helena.


Habitat Stewardship and Management

Research
Clearwater Basin Elk Nutrition Study Year #2 (Idaho)—Study and model development monitoring elk responses to landscape restoration of early seral habitat in north-central Idaho where elk populations have been declining steadily and precipitously during the past three decades.

Water Installations
Metcalf Wildlife Management Area Water Catchments (Nebraska)—Install three water catchments and a well water system to replace structures damaged by a 2012 wildfire on the Metcalf State Wildlife Management Area.

Montz Point Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Wildlife Guzzler (Nebraska)—Install a 1,000-gallon water catchment on Montz Point Wildlife Management Area in Nebraska to benefit elk, bighorn sheep and mule deer. This will supplement one spring development, currently the only water source on the WMA.

Pine Ridge Ranger District Guzzlers (Nebraska)—Replace three non-functioning wildlife water developments that were destroyed or heavily damaged by high intensity wildfires.

Habitat Enhancement
Buffalo National River Habitat Enhancement (Arkansas)—Prescribed burn and seeding of 5,440 acres to enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife.

Clearwater Basin Collaborative Support Year #4 (Idaho)—Supporting the Collaborative, which focuses on extensive landscape restoration of early seral habitat in the Clearwater Basin to meet ecosystem goals and services, including the restoration of healthy elk habitats and populations.

Pony Complex Wildland Fire Rehabilitation (Idaho) –Plant bitterbrush seedlings across 25,000 acres of elk and mule deer habitat.

Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests Burn Block #4 (Idaho)—Prescribed burn of approximately 18,000 acres in the Clearwater Basin on 10 units consisting of elk crucial winter and summer range on two national forests.

Fort Riley Vegetation Improvement (Kansas)–Herbicide application on 2,500 acres to convert grasses to more beneficial early successional plant species, providing more heterogeneous forage and benefiting grassland dependent species.

Munger Road Forage Openings #2 (Michigan)—Plant buckwheat and clover on 63 acres that have been cleared of brush and hyrdo-axing another 62 acres to facilitate future prescribed burning in the Pigeon River State Forest.

Smoky Mountains Wildfire Forage Openings (North Carolina)—Clear, mow, seed and fertilize 11 acres to improve elk habitat on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Reserve.

Cataloochee Prescribed Burn (North Carolina)—2,200-acre burn in a series of prescribed burns over a number of years to restore the composition and open structure of oak and pine woodlands.

Wapiti Wildlife Management Area Mechanical Thinning (Nebraska)—Removal of Eastern Red Cedar on 70 acres to enhance the deciduous component and open the understory to increase browse forage for elk.

Eckleberger/Sheep Basin Prescribed Burn (New Mexico)—Approximate 2,311-acre burn in part of a multi-year effort to improve forest health on nearly 25,000 acres in the Gila National Forest.

Meekins 1 Prescribed Burn (New Mexico)—Follow-up burn on 420 acres of the Gila National Forest’s Wilderness Ranger District to improve forage.

Spruce Mountain Restoration (Nevada)—Improve elk yearlong habitat and mule deer winter habitat by removing pinyon-juniper trees and seeding on 1,200 acres of Bureau of Land Management lands.

Cherokee Wildlife Management Area Forage and Firebreaks (Oklahoma)—Maintain 10 miles of firebreaks and road access, prepping for future burns, and renovate 60 acres of forage openings encroached by larger woody species.

Cookson Wildlife Management Area Fireguard Improvement (Oklahoma)—Prep five miles of fireguard for future burning.

Pushmata Wildlife Management Area Prescribed Burn (Oklahoma)—Following thinning of the closed canopy, 5,000 acres will be burned to improve abundance and quality of year-round elk forage. Brush control on 480 acres will maintain firebreaks.

North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area Foraging Habitat Enhancement (Tennessee)—Use mechanical clearing and seeding to create and enhance 42 acres of forage habitat on Gunsight Mountain and in Bear Wallow Hollow for Tennessee’s growing elk herd, with the goal of reducing elk pressure on adjacent private lands.

War Fork Habitat Project Year #2 (Virginia)—Natural and man-made habitat is being created and enhanced in Virginia’s Elk Restoration Zone to encourage elk to use this designated area and provide the forage and water needed for the herd to grow to a sustainable population.

Clam Lake Elk Range Forage Enhancement (Wisconsin)—Enhance habitat through prescribed burn, mowing and planting on the Flambeau River State Forest and Kimberly Clark Wildlife Area.

Panther Wildlife Management Area Habitat Enhancement (West Virginia)—Improve forage conditions for elk and other wildlife on 22 acres by increasing open land and early successional forested habitat through clearing, seeding, border edge cuts, and two water hole developments.

Permanent Land Protection and Access

Access Projects
Access Yes! (Idaho)—Supported Idaho’s program that expands sportsmen’s access to private land or through private land to public land by paying willing landowners for public access for hunting, fishing, and trapping. The $50,000 grant provided funds to enroll approximately 40,000 acres in the program and helped the Idaho Fish and Game bridge a gap in federal funding so that no lease agreements had to be terminated during the 2014 fall hunting season. As of December 16, 2014, there are 88 active Access Yes! lease agreements opening 380,781 private acres and 486,375 public acres.

Medicine Lodge - Kate Creek & Ayers Canyon Road Access Easement (Montana)—RMEF teamed up with a private landowner, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and local sportsmen groups to purchase a road access easement that secures permanent public access to approximately 41,344 acres of public lands in southwest Montana.

Luera Peak Right-of-Way (New Mexico)—RMEF contributed to a 35-year right-of-way lease that will improve access to approximately 22,400 acres of public land, the great majority of which is elk habitat.

Acquisitions
Wall Creek Acquisition (Montana)—RMEF acquired 631 acres of vital elk winter range in the Madison Valley of southwestern Montana adjacent to the 7,067-acre Madison-Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The entire southern edge of this property borders the existing WMA, which provides crucial winter range for 2,000 elk, as well as hundreds of mule deer and pronghorn antelope. 

Whitetail Prairie Acquisition (Montana)—The Voegele Family and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks partnered with RMEF to conserve 2,810 acres of important wildlife habitat adjacent to the 31,947-acre Beartooth Wildlife Management Area in western Montana. The land is valuable year-round habitat for elk, antelope, mule deer, whitetail deer, bear, mountain lion and numerous non-game species.

Woodring Farm Acquisition (Pennsylvania)—RMEF teamed up with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to purchase and conserve 81 acres of prime elk habitat in the heart of the Pennsylvania elk range.

York Gulch Acquisition (Montana)—RMEF contributed to the acquisition of 286 acres in the York Gulch area northeast of Helena. The land is important habitat for wildlife and a critical corridor for wildlife movement, and provides key road access to recreational areas. The acres were added to the Helena National Forest.

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